Second-year coach delivers for Wildcats - East Valley Tribune: VarsityXtra

Second-year coach delivers for Wildcats

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Posted: Monday, August 20, 2007 3:38 pm | Updated: 5:32 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

The most important call of the football season may force Mike Hudnutt off the field. The Willow Canyon coach and his wife are expecting their third child in October. If the call to rush to the hospital comes during a game, the second-year coach said he won't hesitate to leave the field. "My wife and I have talked about it and I want to be there when my child is born," Hudnutt said. "I have confidence in my staff that the game will be in good hands if I have to leave. "Of course, my wife knows I might get a call from a coach in the delivery room, too." Hudnutt made a delivery of different sorts last year, bringing a new level of football respectability to the Surprise campus. The Wildcats went from 1-9 in their varsity debut in 2005 to 4-7 last season, including 3-2 in the final five games of the campaign. "I think the thing we have to guard against with some of our kids is that they were satisfied with the way we ended the season on a high note," Hudnutt said. "We've had to challenge them with our expectations and that is to win a state championship. "Nothing short of that will ever be our goal." The Wildcats make the move to a new classification this season, going from Class 4A Division 1 to Class 5A Division 2. The Wildcats will be in the Northwest Region along with Goldwater, Deer Valley, Boulder Creek, Kingman and district rival Valley Vista. "Deer Valley and Goldwater are teams that already have playoff experience, so they are the teams to beat," Hudnutt said. "But we feel it is a region where we can be competitive," Hudnutt said. The Wildcats have 25 lettermen returning in 2007. Among the most prominent returnees is junior running back BJ Scott, who led the team in touchdowns with 13 and gained 839 yards on 191 carries last season. "BJ is a guy who we want to get the ball into his hands as much as possible," Hudnutt said. "That may mean lining him up in certain formations to make sure that happens. "But we also have to make sure we have a solid offensive line in front of him." Hudnutt said his biggest preseason concern has been the offensive line, which must replace two starters from last year. The Wildcats must also find a new signal-caller to replace Troy Valdez, who graduated after throwing 12 touchdowns last season. The preseason competition has centered around 6-foot-1 junior Trey Clarida and 6-1 junior Justin Corrigan. "We're starting to see some separation between the two and it should become clearer as we get closer to the start of the season," Hudnutt said. Willow Canyon will open its season with a pair of road games before playing host to Ironwood Ridge in the non-region home opener on Sept. 14. The region opener is scheduled Oct. 5 at Boulder Creek.

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